CHANDIGARH: The number of domestic violence cases has increased manifold in Punjab after the curfew and lockdown was imposed in the state on March 23 to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
There has been a 21 per cent increase (from 4709 to 5695) in cases of Crime Against Women (CAW) between February 1 and April 20, and a similar percentage of increase in cases of domestic violence against women (from 3287 to 3993) during the same period, police said.
Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta said the average number of calls received on DIAL 112 per day went up to 133 - a whopping 34 per cent for domestic violence cases, between March 20 and April 20. The daily average calls during the previous three months was 99.33.
To take stock of the situation and discuss measures to tackle CAW cases, Gupta on Thursday held a video conference with all DSPs of CAW cell and Women Help Desk Officials. As per the detailed strategy presented during the conference by Gurpreet Deo, Additional DGP (Community Affairs Division), SOPs have been put in place to devise the police response mechanism.
In the meeting, it was decided that the cops handling the cases would now submit reports on CAW cases every day to DSPs who would monitor the action taken. The police will coordinate, as needed, with One-Stop Centres, which are manned by counsellors nominated by Departments of Social Security and Women and Child Development. The services of these counsellors will be utilized to counsel the victims, perpetrators, and provide necessary protection in case of children.
As per the response mechanism, after a CAW call is received at 112, it would be reported to the District Control Room (DCC), DSP (CAW) and District Women Help Desks. The Women Help Desk and Women Response Team would then visit the woman in distress. Women constables posted at police stations, designated as PS-WLOs, would handhold the complainant and coordinate with the police station and District level Helpdesk on her behalf.
It has been decided that the Women Response Teams will call back the women in distress immediately and provide tele-counselling and visit them if needed. They will also provide in-situ counselling to the couple/family involved, and rescue the women victims in case they want to go to their maternal house or shelter home. Medical examination would be done in case of physical abuse. The teams will initiate criminal proceedings, in liaison with SHO, if a case is made out.
Meanwhile, Punjab Women Commission Chief Manisha Gulati said the number of domestic violence complaints have drastically risen during the lockdown. The commission, which was getting only three complaints everyday, is now receiving about 30 to 40 calls and emails. "I request the state government to allow the commission to function during this crucial time so that we can take cognizance of these cases," said Gulati.